The Five Best Hidden Restaurant Gems in Spring Branch

pupuseria1.JPG
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Check out the great spread at our No. 4 pick, a pupuseria.
Oh, Long Point Road. You are a foodie's dream destination.

There are consummate favorites Vieng Thai and El Hidalguense. There's Korea House, one of the most popular Korean restaurants in town, and Tacos Del Julio, home of greasy but delicious trompo. Detour a little and you'll find Polonia, Houston's only Polish joint, where the owners are happy to keep the vodka and pierogis flowing, and H-Mart, a Korean-food-lover's dream grocery store.

But Long Point Road and the surrounding area--let's just call it Spring Branch so as to be all-encompassing--also contains a multitude of culinary gems you might not know about. Here are five of the best relatively unknown spots in the area.

Oh, and each restaurant is representative of a different country. Don't you just love Houston?

Disclaimer: For the purposes of this post, Spring Branch is defined as bordered by Clay Road and Highway 290 to the north, Beltway 8 to the west, Katy Freeway to the south and Loop 610 to the east, but excludes the Memorial Villages (as those are categorized as Memorial).

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Photo by Troy Fields
The milanesa at La Plaza is perfectly old-fashioned.
5. La Plaza Mexican Restaurant
Since 1964, La Plaza has been serving up your Tex-Mex greasy spoon guilty pleasure cuisine morning, noon and night. It's an odd spot--part American diner filled with Longhorns memorabilia, part humble Tex-Mex and Northern Mexican eatery. It's old-fashioned Tex-Mex fare here, nothing cutting edge or fancy. As Robb Walsh suggested when he reviewed the spot back in 2009, your best bet is to skip the American diner food portion of the menu and go straight for the tried and true Mexican classics like milanesa and machacado.

pupuseria2.jpg
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
The pupusas are served with the fork stabbed in them just like that.
4. Variedades El Salvador
Because Chris Shepherd of Underbelly is a huge fan of Long Point Road restaurants (and he knows them all) I approached him for an opinion of his favorite little-known spots. His response contained no words, just a photo he texted to me of the exterior of Variedades El Salvador. He wanted me to see for myself. When I entered, I discovered the place is a seemingly incongruous mix of pupuseria, convenience store and discount clothing outlet. Whether you want a soft drink, a soccer jersey or a pupusa con loroco with a side of curtido, you'll find it here. Make sure to get a side of curtido--lightly pickled cabbage slaw--to eat with the pupusas to cut the fat. These stuffed corn cakes filled with cheese are heavy, but wonderful. Also note that no one speaks English here. Fortunately for people like me who only know French and Italian ('cause those are super useful in South Texas), rudimentary sign language and a smile also work.

This story continues on the next page.

Location Info

La Plaza Mexican Restaurant

1803 Bingle Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mi Bella Honduras Restaurant

1806 Wirt Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

BBQ Garden Korean

1949 Gessner Dr, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tinto Grill

10085 Long Point Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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40 comments
spdmnky79
spdmnky79

For Variedades El Salvador, the wrong address is listed... Actual address is 9501 Longpoint Rd. 77055

homer5729
homer5729

Vietnam Poblano has the best alphabet soup and their daily special

normally includes a drink. Great customer service, they always remember

our name. 

homer5729
homer5729

empanada sampler delicious, don't forget the coffee & tres leches

Elyssa Pali
Elyssa Pali

Nate Zam Salomon Amaya this is near you guys!

Sonia Lopez
Sonia Lopez

Yup, and we need to try the Salvadorian place too, mother land Is calling me!

Claudia Medellin
Claudia Medellin

Yay! We've got to go and celebrate! Chile con Queso time!

Sonia Lopez
Sonia Lopez

Claudia Medellin "The Spot"made it top five in SB!

Jen Kim
Jen Kim

Shawn Carey Christine Kim Kutac Daniel Kim

otrd85
otrd85

Connie's Seafood on Long Point is my personal favorite.

justthefacts
justthefacts

Try Tinto's Milanesas.  You have plenty of choices and they are huge.  Think pounded chicken breast or beef and battered with savory toppings and cheese.

justthefacts
justthefacts

Las Hamacas ("hammocks") is another very good family run Honduran place on Hammerly east of Gessner,  that fits within the confines of Spring Branch.  

Becky Ardell Downs
Becky Ardell Downs

you could do a similar survey of Gessner-- from Virgie's Bar-B-Que up north to Vietnam Poblano down near Long Point, and a bunch of good spots in between!

Jay V Shaw
Jay V Shaw

Only one Korean restaurant makes the cut? I was hoping for a new place to try out in Spring Branch. Mexican food is all over Houston

Reynaldo Mendoza
Reynaldo Mendoza

I now work in the branch, been a hot min since I ventured out here since my last job over yonder.

Jacob Haslam
Jacob Haslam

I live off Long Point. I totally need to try some of these!

Gina Cahill
Gina Cahill

Laura Fiorentino Cahill lets check these out! Yeah Danny Dyer I'm down I really never know where to eat at in spring branch.

Danny Dyer
Danny Dyer

Gina Cahill betcha Jesús knows all of these but tbh i have never heard of any of em so leggo

Claudio Lerma
Claudio Lerma

Ura Ura Nahar, Michelle Lafuente, Korina Mitchell we have to try these!

increptitude
increptitude

Casa de Leon serves a lipsmackingly good and greasy breakfast complete with pulled lamb or goat, I forget which

LA V AN
LA V AN

Ryan McDonner Sarah Kathleen Plunkett

Kevin Kujawa
Kevin Kujawa

Memorial Villages are south of I10, right? Anyway, thanks for telling all the hipsters; their gonna ruin it for the rest of us -- prob go to Vieng Thai and ask for chop sticks.

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

Tinto's was at Savory Tastes (food festival) and it was outstanding.  BYO if I'm not mistaken.  Will definitely be going soon.

delano
delano

Jarro Cafe on Gessner used to serve some good tacos with an array of far out salsas....are they still any good? 

jeffajonesjr
jeffajonesjr

Tinto's just went to the top of my must try list.  The beef looks like Pampa on steroids.  La Palza has been a quick breakfast/lunch stopof mine for years.  Mi Bella is also outstanding. 

increptitude
increptitude

Vieng Thai gets a ton of Memorial slummers bringing wine and knowing enough about Thai generally not to ask for chopsticks....along with V's and Fu Lu Su, Houston's best Thai

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@delano  I honestly haven't been there, but salsa is one of my favorite foods. I'll have to check it out ASAP! Thanks!

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@jeffajonesjr  Tinto's is GREAT. And when I was there at 7:30ish on a Monday night, my friend and I were the only people in the restaurant. Give them some more business!

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